The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/15

Q. Will you look at page 127 of this book? I want you to
tell me, looking at the last paragraph, whether that is an
accurate report, "All persons who in the future " - this is,
I beg your pardon, a confidential report on the special
schooling work conducted by the D.A.I. for the foreign
organisations. You did, in fact, did you not, assist the
foreign organisation in training their Landesgruppenleiter
and other leaders abroad?

A. May I ask who signed this article or report?

Q. No, I cannot tell you who signed that report. I asked you
a question. Did the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut assist in
training leaders for the Ausland Organisation abroad?

A. I am not informed on that point.

Q. Now, just turn over the page, to page 128, second
paragraph which I read to you quite shortly.

  "The Auslandsinstitut plays a part in determining the
  curriculum for the training camps as well as serving as
  an intermediary between the party authorities who run
  these camps and the Germans from abroad who attend them."

You still say that that report is -

A. May I ask the date of this report?

Q. I told you it is a report -

A. I had no knowledge of this report.

Q. Very well, I just want to ask you one or two very short
questions on the evidence that you have given about the
defendant von Neurath. You have told us that he was a man of
peace, with an excellent, kind character. Do you know that
on the 5th of November, 1937, he attended a meeting at which
Hitler addressed the leaders of his armed forces? Did you
ever hear of that meeting, on the 5th of November, 1937?

A. No, I did not hear of this meeting, at least not until I
was imprisoned.

Q. Well then, perhaps I could tell you quite shortly what
took place: Hitler said at the meeting, among other things,
that the only way out of the German difficulties was to
secure greater living space, and he said that that problem
could only be solved by force. And, having said that, he
then went on to say that he had decided to attack Austria
and Czechoslovakia. You never heard of that meeting?

A. No, I have not heard anything of that meeting, and only
concluded later that

                                                   [Page 50]

Q. But -

A. May I finish my sentence?

Q. I only wanted to know . . .

A. I said just that von Neurath indicated to me that he had
serious differences of opinion with Hitler. That was toward
the end of 1937. It was only later that I realised that he
must have meant the conference with Hitler and the attitude
which he took on the 5th of November; however, it was only
when I was in prison that I heard through the newspapers
that such a conference took place.

Q. I will come to all that in a moment. I just want you to
get a picture of what happened at this meeting, and I quote
four lines from the minutes of that meeting:

  "Hitler believed that England and presumably France had
  already secretly abandoned Czechoslovakia and were
  satisfied that this question would one day be cleared up
  by Germany."

And Hitler then went on to say that the embodiment of
Czechoslovakia and Austria would constitute a conquest of
food for five or six million people, and that he visualised
the compulsory immigration of two million people from

Now, that is what took place at that conference. Do you know
that some four months later - on 12th March, 1938 - Von
Neurath was giving an assurance to M. Masaryk, and among
other things he assured him, on behalf of Herr Hitler, that
Germany still considered herself bound by the German-
Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention of 1925? Do you know
that he said that?

A. I do not recall it.

Q. Can you understand, now that I have told you that that is
a fact, can you understand anybody who had been at that
conference and had heard what Hitler had said on 5th
November giving an assurance to Czechoslovakia four months
later in terms of that kind? Can you understand any honest
man doing that?

A. I cannot judge of the situation which applied at that
time. I do not know from whom von Neurath might have
received the orders.

Q. I am not asking you to judge at that time. I am asking
you now what your
opinion of a man who can do that sort of thing is. I want
you to tell the Tribunal.

A. I cannot answer that because I do not have a
comprehensive picture of that situation.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for the defendant von Neurath):

Mr. President, I must object to this type of suggestive
question. It is not permissible to put such a question to
the witness without giving him the complete picture of how
this assurance was given. The fact is, and it is correct,
that in the speech Of 5th November, 1937, Hitler for the
first time developed plans which were no longer in accord
with the peace policy of Herr von Neurath, and von Neurath
took the opportunity - I believe in December or early in
January - to discuss this thoroughly with Hitler and point
out to him the impossibility of the policy which he
apparently wanted to embark upon and to persuade him not to
carry it out. When from Hitler's reply he was forced to the
conclusion that Hitler would nevertheless insist on this
policy which would lead to aggression in the future he
submitted his resignation. On 4th February 1938 von Neurath
was permitted to resign. He no longer participated in active

On 11th or 12th March, when the invasion of Austria took
place, an invasion of which Herr von Neurath had no inkling
until that day, Hitler called him . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Luedinghausen, will you kindly wait? The
question was put about the 12th of March, 1938, whether a
man who was at the conference of the 5th of November, 1937
could have given the assurance of the 12th of March.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Yes, Mr. President; I can also clarify
that statement if I may. The question put by Ambassador
Mastny, was whether any military action

                                                   [Page 51]

against Czechoslovakia was intended immediately or soon
after the invasion of Austria, and von Neurath believed that
he could with honesty and as a gentleman answer this
question in the negative.

I say that we have to take into consideration the
circumstances under which  this statement was made. First,
Hitler, in his speech of 5th November, spoke of the years to
come. When he marched into Austria on 12th March, it was an
event which had not been proposed on 5th March and could not
have been anticipated . . .

THE PRESIDENT: just one moment. We do not want to have all
this argument. The question was what was this witness'
opinion of a man who had done that. That was all the
question that was asked, and that question is put to credit

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, I beg your pardon; no one
can answer that question unless he knows in what connection
it was put. Ambassador Mastny asked whether the march into
Austria would entail any aggressive action against
Czechoslovakia and von Neurath answered that question in the
negative. He did not want to give an answer in regard to the
future. The Ambassador wanted to know whether in connection
with the march of the German troops into Austria any
military actions against Czechoslovakia were intended.
According to the information which my client had, he could
in the given situation answer this question in the negative
with a clear conscience. This question is admissible only if
the witness is informed about what I have just said. The
point is not that he declared once and for all, Germany will
never march into Czechoslovakia, but that he merely answered
the Czech Ambassador Mastny's question: Is there any danger
that in connection with the march into Austria military
measures will also be taken against Czechoslovakia? This
question he could answer the way he did. Therefore, the
question in the form in which it was put by the British
prosecution is in my opinion not admissible.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the question properly


Q. Well, we will not pursue the matter. I ask you just this
one further question, so that I make myself quite clear. You
said in your evidence, as I wrote it down, that the
defendant von Neurath was well thought of, dignified and of
noble character. Having heard what I have told you, are you
still prepared to tell the Tribunal that you think he is
well thought of, dignified, and of noble character? Is that
your opinion now? I just want to get the value of your
evidence, do you see? After what you have been told is that
your opinion?

A. It is still my opinion that Herr von Neurath is a man of
aristocratic and sterling character. I cannot judge under
what circumstances he acted at the time, and what
considerations prompted him to act in this way.

Q. You say that he was in favour of peace, and did all he
could to avoid a war. Do you call a deceit of that kind
doing everything possible to avoid war? Is that what your
idea of a peaceful policy is - giving assurance four months
after you know perfectly well that the German intention is
to overrun their country? Is that what you call doing
everything to avoid war?

A. I would like to state once more that I do not
sufficiently understand the essential points and
ramifications of this question to form a proper opinion on
it. But obviously things cannot be as simple as they have
been pictured here.

Q. Let me turn to another aspect of this matter. We have
been told, at great length, that he disapproved of Hitler's
policy and that he resigned. Do you know that, having
resigned, he was appointed Reich Protector of Bohemia-
Moravia in March 1939. Do you know that?

A. Yes.

Q. That was after the remainder of Czechoslovakia had been
overrun, occupied.

A. I said previously that von Neurath told me that he
accepted this post very reluctantly; that he had twice
refused to accept it but later he believed that he had to
make a sacrifice in order to achieve his ends. State
President Hacha told me

                                                   [Page 52]

later that von Neurath's personal influence was of great
benefit because his activity undoubtedly had a balancing and
reconciliatory effect. As I said before, he was recalled
because he was too mild.

Q. Now, you have already said it, and we have heard it, and
we have remembered it, so it is quite unnecessary for you to
say it again. Do try to answer my question shortly. Let me
ask you this question. Have you ever thought that the reason
for that appointment might have been as a reward for his
assistance in the occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia
that had followed so shortly before?

A. No, I never thought of that. However, if I may mention
it, I have read quite a different version in the book by
Henderson - that von Neurath had been put into that post so
that his international prestige could be discredited. I
wanted to bring in this version in order to point out that
there were other possibilities that might come into

Q. Do you remember that you described him as a disciplined,
humane, and conscientious man?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you look at that poster.

have not got a copy of this for the Tribunal. It is a very
short matter. It has been introduced in the Czechoslovak
report on the German occupation. I will give your Lordship
the number: Exhibit USSR 60.

Q. Do you see that this is signed by the defendant von
Neurath, the humane and conscientious man?

A. Yes, I see that the Czech universities were closed for a
period of three years, and that nine culprits were shot.
This announcement, however, does not say, as far as I can
see, exactly why this was done. Consequently I cannot pass
judgement on the announcement because I do not know what von
Neurath proclaimed in it. The announcement does not tell me
anything, if I do not know the reason why the announcement
was issued. The universities were closed and nine culprits
shot. There must have been an adequate reason for the fact.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, may I add the following? I
would like to say this in order to save time.

This question of Czechoslovakia and of this poster with
which I am also familiar, will, of course, be dealt with, in
connection with von Neurath's case, and at that stage of the
proceedings. I will have the opportunity to bring the proof
that this poster did not originate with the defendant von
Neurath. This witness was not in Prague and can only relate
things which he did not know from his own experience but of
which Herr von Neurath told him. Therefore, I believe that
this question is not appropriate and is taking up time
unnecessarily, for I would have to raise objections and
describe the actual situation. We should not put questions
to the witness which, though put in good faith, are
positively incorrect, that is, questions which are based on
inaccurately reported facts which actually occurred in a
different manner. I shall prove that at the time when this
poster was drafted and put up Herr von Neurath was not in
Prague and was not informed of what was going on during his

Therefore I believe that we should not deal with this
question to-day, since I have said the witness cannot know
anything about it from his own observation.

THE PRESIDENT: It will be open to you to show that this
poster was put up when von Neurath was not at Prague, and
that he gave no authority for it. That would clear him with
reference to this poster but what is being put to this
witness is: Assuming that this poster were put up by von
Neurath, is it right to describe him as a humane man? That
is all the cross-examination means.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: But, the witness knows nothing of this
poster. He cannot answer the question correctly if he does
not know the ramifications, if he does not know that this
poster actually did not originate with Herr von Neurath.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness was examined at great length by
you to show he

                                                   [Page 53]

was a humane man and had a very good character. Under such
circumstances it is up to the prosecution to put to the
witness circumstances which would indicate that he (von
Neurath) was not of that humane character. That is all that
is being done.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: In that case the most this witness could
say would be "I do not know," or "if it is true, one can not
call it humane." Anyone of us can say that. The witness does
not need to say it.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can say "If this is correct it is
inconsistent with what I knew of von Neurath."

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: He cannot and he will not say that
either, for the simple reason that he does not know the
circumstances under which this poster was published. Frankly
I cannot see the purpose of this question, for if the
question is put in that way, every decent individual will
say that it is inhumane; but this would not alter the fact
that the witness would be judging facts which do not exist
and which are not true.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you not think this is really taking up
unnecessary time if this witness does not know anything
about it? I quite see that it is for the proper purpose of
cross-examination to credit.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH JONES: I am much obliged to the Tribunal.
The point of that cross-examination was, perhaps I might be
allowed to say, this: This defendant has produced a witness
to give evidence on his oath before this Tribunal. If that
evidence is unchallenged, then it goes down on the record,
and there is nothing to stop this Tribunal from regarding
this witness as a man who is in a position to give reliable
evidence of that kind. This cross-examination is rather to
show that this witness, whether he is saying it truthfully
or untruthfully, is certainly inaccurate. The evidence he
has given as to the good character of this defendant does
not bear investigation - that is quite clear - and the
Tribunal is not saying we are not entitled to cross-examine
as to character. However, I do not think I need occupy the
time of the Tribunal with that.



Q. Witness, when were you last in New York City?

A. I was in New York in 1936.

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